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Everything Changes

I’ve been posting from First Corinthians, Chapter 7.  Paul is dealing with romantic relationships.  In my last article Paul advised that because of persecution that was starting, they needed to consider carefully if they were looking to marry.

Now Paul explains these principles in a little more detail.

What I mean, brothers, is that the time is short.  From now on those who have wives should live as if they had none…
1 Corinthians 7:29

We have to understand that Paul is not saying to leave your wife.  What he means is that whatever happens, keep your walk with the Lord your priority.

At any time your spouse might be arrested, imprisoned, or even martyred for your faith in Christ.  If that’s the case, then you can’t let it affect your service to the Lord.  That’s why God gives a special kind of grace to those undergoing persecution.

Many have come to me and said, “Pastor, I hope persecution never comes to America because I don’t think I could handle it.”  I tell them that if we’re called to that kind of life, then we’ll be given the grace to withstand it victoriously.

Paul goes on to explain the underlying truth.

…those who mourn, as if they did not; those who are happy, as if they were not; those who buy something, as if it were not theirs to keep; those who use the things of the world, as if not engrossed in them.  For this world in its present form is passing away.
1 Corinthians 7:30-31

The thing that Paul is trying to get across to us is that everything is subject to change.  The world doesn’t get it.  They think that a single event brings a permanent change.

If they go through a devastating loss, they think their life is over forever.  On the other hand, they think that if they can just win the lottery, they’ll be happy forever.  Neither of those two statements is true.  Change is constant.

So as believers, we’re told not to look at any phase of life as permanent.  Even if we get a new device that we’ve always wanted – we realize that it’s not ours to keep.  It will wear out, break, or become obsolete.

We’re literally told that we can use the systems of the world, but don’t overuse or misuse them.  The way society works is constantly changing.  The strategies that made people successful 50 years ago, won’t work today.

The present form of the world – the way things work – is fading away.  Society is always changing.  The way people learn, interact and do business is always evolving.  We can’t get engrossed in one way of doing things.

But here’s the good news.  God’s kingdom works the same yesterday, today and forever.

It’s all about spending time in the Lord’s presence hearing from the Holy Spirit.  Then we do what He’s leading us to do.  It’s this obedience that makes us successful.

If somebody had told me as a teen, that one day I would sit in my den and explain Biblical truth to people across the country and around the world, I wouldn’t have believed them.  It’s become a different world now.

The bottom line is that change will be constant and that listening to the voice of God is the only thing that will keep us on course.

Question: How has the Holy Spirit helped you to weather the changes in society?

© 2019 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on April 8, 2019 in Encouragement, Revival, Spiritual Walk

 

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First Impressions of the Holy Spirit

DoveI believe that the church doesn’t acknowledge the Holy Spirit as it should. We don’t fully understand the blessing we’ve been given. We have the Spirit of the living God residing in us.

I wanted to delve deeper into understanding the Holy Spirit as a person. So I began to teach a series on the Holy Spirit in my Wednesday night Bible Study. As I began to study, the Lord started showing me things that I wasn’t prepared for.

What I found is going to be the subject of my next few posts. My hope is that it will lead you to a greater respect and understanding of the Spirit that lives within you.

As I said, I was studying what the Bible says about the Holy Spirit. Who wrote the Bible? Obviously THE HOLY SPIRIT! He used individuals to write it down, but the Lord breathed His Word through them to bring us the Scripture.

In thinking about what was written, I asked myself a question. What’s the first thing that the Holy Spirit says about Himself? After all, first impressions are the most important.

In my studies I’ve come to believe that the book of James was the first of the New Testament to be written.

In that short book there’s only one direct reference to the Holy Spirit and it took me off guard.

You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world is hatred toward God? Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God. Or do you think Scripture says without reason that the spirit he caused to live in us envies intensely?
James 4:4-5

We know that God the Holy Spirit wants to be your friend. But it’s interesting to see that the first thing He reveals about Himself is that you can’t be both His friend and the world’s friend.

Understand – you can have friends in the world. But the Spirit of God doesn’t want you to be a friend of the world system. We can’t be chasing after the same things that the world does.

The Scripture above literally says that the Holy Spirit is intensely jealous. This is a destructive jealousy to the point where He actively seeks to destroy whatever would try to steal the heart of those He loves.

He knows that you love Him. He knows the plans He has for you. He wants to bring you prosperity and health. He has a hope and a future destiny for you.

But at the same time He sees someone trying to steal your heart. Someone who has plans to ruin your life. Someone with a desire to steal, kill, and destroy.

My question is; if that’s the first thing He says, how important is it to Him? An even greater question is; how important does this seem to the church today? Unfortunately, I believe that we’ve lost this sense of the Lord’s jealousy.

That’s what I intent to write about for the remainder of this series.

Question: How does the knowledge of the Holy Spirit’s jealousy affect your walk with Christ?

© Nick Zaccardi 2015

 
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Posted by on April 3, 2015 in Power of God, Prayer, Revival

 

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Is Your Schedule Bleeding Time?

Parking MeterIn my last post I talked about the Sabbath as a tithe of our time. I believe the violation of this principle is causing many Christians to be ineffective for the Lord.

The prophet Haggai had to rebuke Israel for their disregard of the Lord’s work. When they returned from Babylonian captivity, they immediately went about building themselves huge, comfortable homes while ignoring the temple of the Lord. They should have been able to accomplish both.

Then the word of the Lord came through the prophet Haggai: “Is it a time for you yourselves to be living in your paneled houses, while this house remains a ruin?”
Now this is what the Lord Almighty says: “Give careful thought to your ways. You have planted much, but have harvested little. You eat, but never have enough. You drink, but never have your fill. You put on clothes, but are not warm. You earn wages, only to put them in a purse with holes in it.”
Haggai 1:3-6

This could be said about our current generation in regards to our time. God’s people are always busy. But their time is never enough. In spite of all this busyness, not much is being accomplished in the Kingdom of God.

I remember when I was younger. Our church met on Sunday. The whole day revolved around going to church.

There was a morning and evening service. After the service, we would spend an hour or so just praying around the altar. We wanted the things that we heard in the message to become a part of our lives. We wanted the Word of God to take root deep in our hearts.

Now, it seems to me, that to many, the Sunday worship service is merely a formality. It’s something that we need to get out of the way in order for us to get on with what we really want to do.

I realize that’s a huge generalization. It’s not true about all churches or believers. But as I look out across what we call “the church” in America, it’s the modern trend. I don’t know if it’s true or not, but I heard one leader say that among those who claim that they’re committed to a local church – it means that they attend at least twice a month. That’s the new commitment in our generation.

Since you call on a Father who judges each man’s work impartially, live your lives as strangers here in reverent fear.
1 Peter 1:17

This verse tells us that we are not a part of the world system. It literally says that we should live in holy fear, overturning, turning up-side down, the time. What we do with our time will determine the future of the church.

Here’s the bottom line. Time is the new commodity in the body of Christ. We would ten times rather give God our money than our time. But I believe that time is what we need to spend if we want revival.

I’ve heard people say that America needs revival. We do. Do we really want revival, knowing the cost? We are going to have to purchase revival for our nation with time turned over to God.

Question: How much of your time are you willing to spend on revival?

© Nick Zaccardi 2014

 
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Posted by on June 16, 2014 in Power of God, Revival, The Church

 

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Our Culture of Darkness

SunriseA little over a year ago I posted a series about Christianity as a counter-culture. I want to pick up that theme again for a few more posts. Too many believers want to keep their feet in both the church and the world. That’s going to become increasingly difficult as we approach the Lord’s return.

The world hates Christ and His people. Please understand what I mean by this. I’m talking about the world system and not the individual people themselves. It’s the system – the way our culture has established itself – that’s against the knowledge of Christ.

The Lord spoke about it.

This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil.
John 3:19

We live in a society that hates the light – the knowledge of truth. This is because truth is an agent of change. When I begin to know and understand the truth, I’m responsible to do something with it.

Because of this, the default response of the world is, “I don’t want to know the truth.” They have found that ignorance is bliss – at least in the short term.

For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.
John 3:17-18

Here’s what many people don’t understand. Christ didn’t come to condemn the world. And it’s definitely not our job either. We are not here to rebuke sinners for doing what is natural to them.

The problem arises when the light of truth becomes evident. Even though we may not directly condemn anyone, by rejecting the truth they stand condemned. In effect, they’ve condemned themselves.

When you know that there’s a right path, yet you knowingly chose the wrong way, you become self-condemned. At that point the only solution is to cram your life with so many distractions that you never think about this truth.

That’s where our society finds itself today. We have more opportunities to amuse ourselves than ever before. I chose that word on purpose. A-muse – it literally means to not-think.

On the other side of the coin, we as believers should be the ones who don’t fear the truth. We should delight in the presence of the Lord and His Word. We should be welcoming the gentle voice of the Holy Spirit in our lives.

We can’t afford to pick up the attitude of the world. Don’t fall victim to the distractions of this age which will short-circuit your destiny in Christ. Spend time in the light of Christ and His truth.

Question: How does walking in the light differ from walking in the darkness?

© Nick Zaccardi 2014

 
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Posted by on May 12, 2014 in Revival, The Church

 

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Counter-Culture or Counterfeit?

Fake MoneyI have been posting about the difference between the Christian culture and the culture of the world.  In my last post, we saw that there are two anointings in the world – the anointing of the Holy Spirit and the antichrist anointing.

The apostle John talked about these anointings in his first letter.  In that same context he also said the following…

See that what you have heard from the beginning remains in you.  If it does, you also will remain in the Son and in the Father.  And this is what he promised us — even eternal life.
I am writing these things to you about those who are trying to lead you astray.
1 John 2:24-26

It is important that we remain in Christ – the Anointed One.  If we do, then we will also remain in His anointing.  The problem with many of us is that we try to jump back and forth.

Today we want the blessings of Christ.  The next day we try and chase after what the world is offering.  Sometimes we appear to be a little split in our loyalty.

We need to make a choice.  What is it that I want from life?  Do I want God’s best, or the world’s best?

After all, there are those who would try to lead us astray.  It literally means that they are trying to cause us to roam.  When that happens, we lose direction and focus.

It’s sad, but in many cases there are believers who are teaching us how to live with our feet in both worlds.  While it’s true that we have to live within the present world system, we don’t have to embrace its philosophy of life.  The priorities of the world should not be our priorities.

As for you, the anointing you received from him remains in you, and you do not need anyone to teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about all things and as that anointing is real, not counterfeit — just as it has taught you, remain in him.
1 John 2:27

The truth is that the Lord wants to place His priorities in us.  If we will listen to the Holy Spirit at work in us, we will walk in this anointing.  If not, then we become a counterfeit.

A counterfeit is something that looks real, but it’s not.  Usually, only something valuable is counterfeited.  The counterfeit anointing is referring to those who appear to love God, yet really want what the world is offering.

Their priorities are in direct conflict with God’s, while appearing to serve, praise, and honor Him.  Don’t be a Christian in appearance only.  Remember, it’s what’s going on inside that counts.

Drink in the anointing of the Holy Spirit.  Let Him change your priorities from the inside out.  Don’t fall victim to the counterfeit anointing that is so prevalent in the world today.

Question: Why is the world’s anointing so appealing?

© Nick Zaccardi 2012

 
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Posted by on December 12, 2012 in Revival, The Church

 

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Christianity: The Counter-Culture…or not?

DifferentIs the church called to run contrary to the world?  If so, then where are we missing it?  I want to take a few posts to deal with this issue.  I want us to think about our walk as Christians in America.

This topic actually isn’t that new.  James wrote about it long ago.

You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world is hatred toward God?  Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God.
James 4:4

Those are some strong words he uses.  He called them an adulterous people.  What does cheating on your spouse have to do with the spiritual condition of a generation?  The answer is found in the verse just preceding this one.  It explains his choice of words.

As he talked about asking for things in prayer, he wrote…

When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.
James 4:3

Here’s the problem that James is describing as adultery.  They asked God for things so that they could then spend those things on their pleasures.  It literally says that their motives in seeking God, was so that they could become consumers of pleasures.

That sounds a little too familiar.

“God, please help me to get a better job.”

Then, as our blessings increase, we get more things and push God further into the background.  After all, now that I have more stuff, I have less time for “church”.

Here’s the problem from God’s perspective.  It says in verse 4, above, that trying to make friends with the world is an act of hostility toward God.  To make a friend, you need to try to please them or be like them in some way.

Remember, we’re not talking about the people, but the world system.  You can make friends with people without buying into the system.

There’s a word we use for the world’s system of order.  It’s the word culture.  Webster’s Comprehensive Dictionary defines culture as, the sum total of the attainments and activities of any…people, including their implements, handcrafts, agriculture, economics, music, arts, religious beliefs, tradition, language and story.

In other words, the American culture is our entire way of life.  It’s how we live and what we expect.  It’s what we strive for as well as what we accept as “normal”.

When I think about the mainstream of life in the United States, I get a picture of the system at work here.  Then, when I see the lifestyle we are called to as followers of Christ, I get a whole different picture.  There are some areas where the two cultures are drastically different.

How do we live in both worlds?  That’s what I want to talk about in the next few posts.  Hopefully you’ll join the conversation.

Question: Do you see areas where the church is too friendly with the world system?

© Nick Zaccardi 2012

 
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Posted by on December 5, 2012 in Revival, The Church

 

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Get Rid of Powerlessness Once and for All

For a few posts I’ve been talking about the nature of spiritual power.  I’ve been using the example of electrical power to explain these truths.  We have seen that love is our spiritual “voltage”, while a saved mind is spiritual “current”.  In this final post of the series, I’ll talk about the importance of a saved mind.

From that time on Jesus began to explain to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things…and that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life.
Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him.  “Never, Lord!” he said.  “This shall never happen to you!”
Jesus turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan!  You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men.”
Matthew 16:21-23

Peter was acting on the principles of an unsaved mind.  This actually caused Peter to rebuke and contradict Jesus.

We can end up in that same state if we don’t allow our minds to be saved and renewed by the Word.  We must always check to see what principles we’re acting on.  Are they the truth of God’s Word, or the principles of the world system?

Don’t get into the position where you contradict the Word of God, because you’re acting out your own human wisdom.

“The one who received the seed that fell among the thorns is the man who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke it, making it unfruitful.”
Matthew 13:22

This verse shows the result of an unsaved mind.  Your actions will be based upon worries, the desire for riches and pleasures, rather than the will of God.  A mind choked by the cares of this world is unfruitful, even if we’re hearing the Word of God.

Unfruitful means that the Word does not produce any change in our lives.  If change is not being produced, then that, by definition, is powerlessness.

If anyone thinks he is something when he is nothing, he deceives himself.  Each one should test his own actions.  Then he can take pride in himself, without comparing himself to somebody else…
Galatians 6:3-4a

If you find yourself in this state of powerlessness, don’t add the condition of self-deception to it.  Take stock of your life.  Do you see the marks of the power of God or not?  Is there room for improvement?  If so, then allow the working of the Holy Spirit to move you into a closer walk with the Lord.

Don’t be satisfied with the same old mediocre walk that most of Christianity calls normal in this generation.  Break free from that mold and seek the power of God to flow freely through your life.  It all depends upon your attitude and your willingness to humble yourself before a holy God who already knows your condition.

Question: Do you desire the power of God in your life?  What’s your next step to walking in it?

© Nick Zaccardi 2012

 
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Posted by on November 21, 2012 in Power of God

 

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